Pockets Get Popular

The concept of pocket cruisers is not a new one, and while the definition of “pocket cruiser” may have changed over the years and is still fluid — Is there a hard and fast upper length? — such boats have been around for decades, both in sail and power versions. Versions from the likes of Hunt, North Pacific, Nordic Tug, SeaSport, Aspen and others have been evolving through the years to include more amenities and to take advantage of the latest technology.

One piece of technology the builders have embraced more recently: outboard motors. As outboards have increased in horsepower — 627 hp! — and decreased in decibels, they have become a viable option for a wider variety of boats, and pocket cruiser builders have noticed. Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats are two West Coast builders that have gone the outboard route, which has opened up more room for storage and fishing amenities under the cockpit sole.

I saw the latest line from the latest builder to embrace outboards at an event in Maryland in June. Jeanneau introduced its NC and Leader outboard lines, of which the NC (short for New Concept) line features the pocket cruisers, from about 24 feet to just shy of 30 feet. Stowable and moveable cockpit furniture make the NC models — 795, 855, 895 — versatile as family cruisers and fishing boats, and platformettes to either side of the outboard(s) ensure easy boarding from the dock or from the water. With two staterooms in the larger two models and convertible dinettes, these boats can accommodate a family, and the designers didn’t waste an inch when it came to placing amenities. The beam on the NCs stays short of 10 feet, so the boats are trailerable, for mobile and varied cruising.

Our cruising feature this month, an interview with Jim and Lisa Favors, centers on pocket cruisers. The Favors owned a Ranger Tugs R-27 and took it all over the country. They are scheduled to pick up their new Ranger, an R-29 (not an outboard), this month and begin an all-new adventure on the road and on the water. We talked to the Favors about their choice to go trailerable (or pocket), their experience on the road and their advice for folks thinking about making the move. In addition, they gave us some incredible photos, taken in places they wouldn’t have gone if they’d kept their 40-plus-foot boat.

It’s not for everyone, as Jim and Lisa point out, but judging by the number of smaller cruisers on the water these days, it’s for a lot of people. Inboard or outboard, trailerable pocket cruisers comprise a niche that’s on the road to increased popularity.

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